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Author Topic: I want to be a scientist, how?  (Read 2943 times)

Offline OssyLewis20

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I want to be a scientist, how?
« on: 09/06/2011 21:49:36 »
Hi guys,

Im a 20 yr old from lancashire and have a huge interest in most sciences.  I was urged to get an apprenticeship in a trade when leaving school and now really regret this as it is not my interest.

Could someone help me by explaining what I need to do to pursue this career.  I dont care about the jobs salary and just want to do something ill love but dont know where to start, If/how I can get funding, and what different routes I could take.

I am mainly interested in physics, astronomy and subjects relating to this, but am also very interested in many other sciences.

PLEASE HELP ME!


 

Offline mitochondria

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I want to be a scientist, how?
« Reply #1 on: 09/06/2011 22:01:11 »
How are your GCSEs and A'levels?   If you have decent A Levels then why not consider doing a Physics degree?   If you don't have A Levels then consider doing an access course/a levels in the sciences. :)
 

Offline imatfaal

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I want to be a scientist, how?
« Reply #2 on: 09/06/2011 22:11:11 »
Ossy - you might want to look at part-time student undergrad courses - I would recommend Birkbeck in London and I am sure Manchester or Lancaster will have similar part time evening courses that might lead to a degree eventually.  You could also consider the Open University - although I needed the support of a class of people to keep me going and share the work.  Of course if you can spare the time go full time.  The sort of people there is amazing; from fulltime mums to sprightly pensioners, from senior civil servants to a self-employed spiritual healer (I kid not), and people with Doctorates already to those who had no qualifications whatsoever.  

I realise I am sounding like an advert - but I mean it.  I have done a degree part-time after work (at Birkbeck College) - it is unbelievably hard work and unbelievably satisfying.    All of these courses cater for a wide range of people - from those with a degree already, to those who flunked university first time round (yep that was me), to people who left school with good O and Alevels, and the main group - those with very few qualifications at all.  The benefit of the part-time specialist Universities is the different standard for entrance - you might have to go to quite a few interviews - but you could also get away without having Alevels.

It's serious hard work - and for a course like Physics there won't be anytime for slacking - but it is incredibly rewarding.  And if you are in Manchester you might get to be lectured by Brian Cox!
 

Offline CliffordK

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I want to be a scientist, how?
« Reply #3 on: 09/06/2011 22:50:23 »
I'm not sure about Britain. 

Many of the US colleges offer a "liberal arts degree".  You can also get 2 or more majors and/or minors. 

It means that you can get exposed to a variety of fields; physics; biology; chemistry; computer science; etc. 

I know that in Italy, the university studies are much more focused in a single field, perhaps giving more information in that single field, but less in other subjects.

Many of the students starting a little older do well because they can be more focused.

 

Offline OssyLewis20

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I want to be a scientist, how?
« Reply #4 on: 10/06/2011 12:44:48 »
Cheers guys ill look into this, I couldnt get any information off the government site.  I live in a small town called oswaldtwistle and there is no careers advisors at all as far as i can find.



Cheers
« Last Edit: 10/06/2011 12:52:10 by OssyLewis20 »
 

Offline graham.d

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I want to be a scientist, how?
« Reply #5 on: 10/06/2011 13:49:58 »
I went to Manchester University (physics) but it was a long time ago. The University incorporates what used to be a variety of technical colleges and I feel sure will offer a wide variety of courses with people with either a theoretical or practical bent. You are also not so far from Liverpool, Lancaster, Leeds and many other universities. Best to go on their websites and have a look at what is on offer.
 

Offline rosy

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I want to be a scientist, how?
« Reply #6 on: 10/06/2011 14:25:04 »
If you want to be a scientist, your best bet is to try to get a degree in the scientific subject that most interests you... so probably if your primary interest is physics I'd go with that (many physics courses offer components in astronomy..).

How you want to go about that will depend on your personal circumstances...

There are two things to consider, one is what qualifications you've got, the other is, as ever, money.

If you haven't got relevant A-levels you'll probably need either to get some or to apply for a foundation course. I wouldn't recommend anyone try to start a physics degree without A-level-equivalent knowledge of both physics and maths (being comfortable with maths is essential for studying physics, you'll need to be really well on top of the A-level and confident you can progress further, because in the same way to study French litterature you need first to know the French language, to study physics it's essential to be reasonably at home with maths...).

If you've got some A-levels already, you might want to look up courses in physics on the UCAS website (which will give you an indication of what grades you'd need for which courses at which universities).

If you haven't got the A-levels yet you could probably get them by taking evening courses at your local college... it might take you a couple of years. On the other hand, I'd think (tho' it might be worth checking ASAP) that you've probably missed the application round to start this autumn, and I'd think if you were applying through UCAS this winter for 2012 that if you were studying for an AS in physics or maths that would look good on your application.

Or some universities offer foundation year type courses for people which then (subject to successful completion) lead on to their science courses.. for example I found this one in Manchester, but I think the UCAS listing has some information about these too:
http://www.manchester.ac.uk/undergraduate/courses/foundationyear/#uk/eu


Then there's the question of money.

The university fees are now 9000 per year, which is a lot of money, but it's important to remember that you will never be expected to pay back either your fees or any money you borrow through the student loans company for living expenses, out of income you haven't got, so you're basically agreeing to pay higher taxes, rather than getting yourself into "debt" of the sort that involves bailifs showing up on your doorstep.

There's also a loan available for living expenses, how much you can get probably depends on your financial circumstances (and your parents' financial circumstances, since you are under 25, if they are reasonably well off they'll be expected to give you some money too)..
Depending on your circumstances (and your parents') you may also be eligible for various kinds of bursary, which I think depends on the individual universities.

Things are different again if you're married, or have children, or (I think) if you don't live with your parents (depending on how long you've been not living with them) and other variables.. there's a calculator for home much support (loans and bursaries) you can get from the government).
http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/EducationAndLearning/UniversityAndHigherEducation/StudentFinance/Gettingstarted/DG_171574
 

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I want to be a scientist, how?
« Reply #6 on: 10/06/2011 14:25:04 »

 

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